Lacrosse Editorial…The Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League (OJALL) Make Rule Changes

The Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League (OJALL) made an announcement a few week’s back that they would change some of their rules to be more uniform with the National Lacrosse League (NLL). 

Had the league planned to change rules to more of an NLL format on their own?

Were the rule changes because the newly formed junior league,The Tewaaraton Lacrosse League (TLL), had stated their rules were going to be more in line with the NLL, helping players transition easier to the pros?

A bit of both?

Here are the rule changes:

1. 4 Second Count (vacate the crease)

2. 8 Second Count (advance the ball past half court)

3. Face Off Execution (non face-off players on restraining lines)

4. Back Court Violations (possession remains in the offensive zone)

5. Too Many Players (any violation results in a penalty)

6. Goalie Stick Dimensions (uniform regulations)

7. Delayed Penalty Mechanics (play continues until the defensive team gains possession regardless of shots on goal)

8. Loose Ball in the Crease (ball can be scooped out by an offensive player but not batted into the net)

9. Fast Restarts (violations result in the ball being put down immediate and blown in upon the non-violating team gaining possession)

Commissioner Mark Grimes met with Derek Keenan, Paul Day, Eddie Comeau and newly appointed advisor lan Garrison (some of the best and brightest minds in lacrosse today), an advisory board created by the OJALL last August, looking at improving the game for players and fans alike.

Said Commissioner Grimes…“This is something the league has been discussing for a long time and I believe we are implementing the right rules, at the right time, with the right people at the table”. 

Alberta had mentioned they were going to make changes to their rules as well, but not in the direction Ontario was going, with British Columbia keeping in line with the Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) rules.  The big argument is when Ontario makes these changes without the rest of the CLA following suit, another rule book is created (a big fault with the game is the many rule books all over the country…Junior A, Junior B, MSL, BCALL, etc.).

The Minto Cup Tournament:

When these leagues meet for the Minto Cup Championship Tournament (Junior Championship) the CLA rules would be in effect.  Would this confuse things for players and officials using a different set of rules all year? 

Purists have argued that the OLA has been around since 1933, having many players seamlessly transition to the professional leagues throughout their history without having to adapt to a new set of rules. They blame fear of the new league for these changes, while others think streamlining rules is a good thing – A way to speed up an already quick game.

Personally, I feel if these changes can speed up some of the slower parts of the game, and increase continuous flow, it is a positive change. 

There are plenty of young talented players to fill all the teams in all the leagues, and if these organizations can push each other to get the most out of their players and teams…we all win.

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